Family dispute resolution for parenting matters
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) can help separated or divorced parents to agree on living arrangements for their children and how to share parenting after separation, as well as resolve conflicts over child support and other costs.
These types of disputes are commonly called parenting matters in the family law system. We provide our FDR service, also known as mediation, with a focus on safety and the best interests of children, and ensuring that both people can participate.
It’s not uncommon for separating couples to need to resolve issues around both parenting and property matters. This can be done as part of the same FDR process, or at different times.
When is a certificate issued?
Under Australian family law, before filing in court for parenting orders, it is necessary to attempt FDR and obtain a certificate from your FDR practitioner.
There are some exemptions, such as cases involving family violence or child abuse, or if the matter is urgent. For more information, visit the Australian Government's Family Relationships Online website.
How do I set up a Parenting Plan?
As part of FDR, we can also help you to develop a Parenting Plan - a written agreement that sets out the practical issues of parenting your children after separation.
A Parenting Plan can create more clarity and certainty in parenting arrangements, help both parents know what is expected of them and be changed by agreement as time passes and circumstances change.
It can include details such as the time your children will spend with each parent, and how parents will communicate and make ongoing decisions about your children’s care and welfare. Once developed, it needs to be signed and dated by both parents.
We also offer a Parenting After Separation Seminar program (including for court-mandated clients), as well as individual counselling to support you to deal with any emotional conflicts arising from separation.
Are children included in FDR?
We believe that it is important to include children’s perspectives, opinions and experiences in the FDR process, where it is safe and practicable to do so.
We provide child-inclusive FDR, which enables school-aged children to talk to a trained child consultant about their situation and experiences during a significant period of change and adjustment.
We also offer child-enhanced FDR, where decisions are being made for children under four years of age, or when child-inclusive practice is not appropriate.